Fighting against the segregation of people with disabilities, giving a more meaningful voice to people with disabilities, and making sure the NDIS doesn’t become a (more) broken funding model. These were some of the issues discussed during a fascinating panel discussion last night that was organised by the UNSW Disability Innovation Institute to mark the International Day of People with Disability.
The discussion explored what progress has been made in the fifteen years since the adoption of the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – or lack thereof. The panel included June Riemer, Dr Alastair McEwin, Rosemary Kayess, Fiona Mckenzie and Prof Julian Trollor, and was facilitated by Nas Campanella.
The CPRD played a major role in shifting the perception of people with disabilities from the subjects of medical treatment and charity, to full members of society with human rights.
One of the strongest themes from the discussion was the need to normalise and support people with disabilities to participate in all aspects of life and to end segregation. The content of the Convention remains relevant – and a lot of it remains unrealised:
The purpose of the present Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) Article 1
As the incoming Disability Discrimination Commissioner Rosemary Kayess summarised, “we’ve got to stop focusing on the diagnosis and start focusing on the processes to support people to participate… Let’s stop with the catchphrases and talk about disability like grown-ups.”